The hardest part about changing your spending habits is simply getting started. For me, I was in a routine of eating out for breakfast and lunch every single weekday, plus I would stop all the time for frivolous purchases that I didn’t really need. I knew they were adding up to a lot of money, but I didn’t know how much until I started to really sit down and evaluate things.
And it all started with a single day. One day, I woke up and challenged myself to spend less money that day. I kept that thought on my mind, and instead of eating out for breakfast, I took a container of yogurt to work with me, and instead of eating out with coworkers for lunch, I made two sandwiches and took them with me and ate in the common area. On my way home, I considered stopping to buy a new book, but instead, I went home and found an unread one on the shelf. Instead of flipping on the television and vegging out, I read that book for a while. Instead of picking up some takeout, I unthawed some frozen chicken breasts from the freezer and some spaghetti and tomato paste in the cupboard and had some simple homemade chicken and pasta. That night, I thought about what I had saved: no costs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; no cost of buying a book I didn’t need; no cost of electricity used while watching television. I estimated I had saved $20 just by doing things a bit differently that day, and I slept like a baby.
Tomorrow morning, when you wake up, make a one day commitment to living in a more frugal fashion. Things you might want to try:
+ Take your lunch to work/school instead of eating out
+ Make sure that as many electric and electronic devices as possible are turned off when you leave; turn off the lights and so forth
+ For entertainment, do something with little cost, like reading a book you already have or going to the park, instead of using your television and burning electricity
+ If you would normally go out, instead invite friends over to do something at home, like play a board game or have a potluck supper
+ Prepare and eat supper at home using only what’s in your cupboards
+ Evaluate everything that you purchase, and don’t buy anything frivolous
At the end of the day, perhaps as you’re about to fall asleep, reflect on the money you saved throughout the day. If you consider all the places where you saved even a little bit of money and approximate adding them up, you’ll probably surprise yourself in terms of how much money you have now that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Then, consider trying it again tomorrow. After several days, some of your new routines will start to become old habits and your bank accounts will thank you.